East Meets West

Friday, October 20, 2006


Ramazan (or Ramadan as it's known in most of the world) is the Islamic month of fasting, and is about to come to an end this year. Here are some of the reasons why I love Ramazan:

1. Food tastes better after not having eaten all day
2. You can walk through the streets without being asphyxiated by cigarette smoke
3. 1.5 billion people world-wide experiencing the same struggle of not eating food
4. When you don't eat during the day, you realize how much your life revolves around food
5. When you don't eat during the day, you realize how much more efficient you can be without having to take food breaks

6. Gullac! During Ramazan in Turkey, this favorite dessert of thin layers of dough, milk, nuts and pomegranate seeds is available.
7. 1.5 billion people feeling empathy: One of the purposes of fasting during the month is to understand what those without go through every day
8. 1.5 billion people feeling compassion: Ramazan reminds people to be more compassionate towards others. Drivers are less aggressive, people are more courteous and thoughtful than they are at other times of the year
9. Less traffic during rush hour. Folks rush home or to restaurants before iftar, the breaking of the fast. This year, iftar takes place around 6:30pm - the perfect time to leave the office as the streets become empty.
10. Sugar Festival! Seker Bayram is the 3-4 day holiday after the month of fasting. A combination of Christmas, Halloween and Chinese New Year, children get presents, new toys and lots of candy. They also go around kissing their elders' hands then touching them to their forehead, a sign of respect. In return the elders give them money, similar to children receiving red envelopes on Chinese New Year. During the Sugar Festival, friends and relatives are visited and lots of food is eaten to celebrate the end of fasting.

Happy Holidays!

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